New College

The College of St Mary of Winchester in Oxford was founded in 1379 by William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester. Known as 'New College' from very early on, the sobriquet became its unofficial name. Wykeham’s foundation was without parallel in Oxford, providing the largest building to be erected in Oxford since the twelfth century. Until the mid-nineteenth century its students were drawn almost entirely from Winchester College, also founded by William of Wykeham to provide scholars who would be well grounded in latin grammar before coming to Oxford to specialise in the disciplines taught here.

The earliest buildings of the college, situated round the Front Quad, date from before 1400 and contain all the main elements required for a college; all apart from the Founders Library still serve their original function. More quadrangles and buildings added from the seventeenth onwards extended the college beyond that section of the medieval city walls that it still maintains.

The archives comprise the administrative records of the college since 1379, title deeds and manorial records of its extensive estates in twenty- eight counties, and more recent papers and special collections amassed by, or relating to, some of its members (see the Archives page of the college website for details).

Documents amassed before c.1960 were listed in Francis Steer's Archives of New College Oxford (Phillimore, 1974). Catalogues of later acquisitions and special collections are available on request from the archivist.


Archivist & Records Manager: Dr Michael Stansfield

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 10.00 - 1.00 and 2.00 - 5.00 (by appointment only)

Address: New College, Holywell Street, Oxford, OX1 3BN



Further reading:

William Poole and Christopher Skelton-Foord (eds.), Geometry and Astronomy in New College, Oxford: On the Quatercentenary of the Savilian Professorships 1619–2019 (Oxford: New College Library & Archives, 2019).

Matthew Jenkinson, New College School, Oxford: A History (Oxford: Shire Publications, 2013)

Christopher Tyerman (ed.), New College (London: Third Millennium, 2010)

Virginia Davis, William Wykeham: A Life (London: Hambledon Continuum, 2007)

John Buxton and Penry Williams (eds.), New College, Oxford, 1379–1979 (Oxford: New College, Oxford, 1979)

Francis W. Steer, The Archives of New College, Oxford: A Catalogue (London: Phillimore, 1974)

A. H. Smith, New College, Oxford, and its Buildings (London: Oxford University Press, 1952)

Christopher Woodforde, The Stained Glass of New College, Oxford (London: Oxford University Press, 1951)

Arthur Octavius Prickard, New College, Oxford (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1906)

Hastings Rashdall and Robert S. Rait, New College (London: F. E. Robinson, 1901)

Mackenzie E. C. Walcott, William of Wykeham and his Colleges (Winchester: D. Nutt, 1852)